CRIME SUMMARY – Week 15-21 February 2016
Mon 15 Feb: A suspicious vehicle was reported during the evening but no details were made available. While there was a great response by residents to find this vehicle, nothing was found. The lesson here is that we do need a description of the vehicle and why it is regarded as suspicious.
Tues 16 Feb: Three highly suspicious men were reported during the early morning in Jean Avenue. They had apparently “asked for water” at a certain house. However, they appeared to have disappeared as mist before the sun when the report was followed-up . Could we ask of our residents that if you hear of a suspicious person or vehicle reported near you, that you go out with your radio and check whether your street is clear, and informing others of what is going on.
Wed 17 Feb: No crime was reported as occurring on this day.
Thurs 18 Feb: A drug deal was reported during the evening and some residents responded. However, very little else was reported and so we cannot give you the details. What is important is that we use the radio for all crime incident reporting and not Whatsapp or Zello. By using the radio we all get to know what is going on and are in a position to support you.
Fri 19 Feb: A gate motor was reported as stolen in Sonja Street during the early morning hours. The question is: have you secured your gate motor against theft? This type of crime is difficult to counter when you are soundly asleep. So build in security measures. Some time back a resident demonstrated how you can do this. If you are interested, go to the www.doringkloof.net website and scroll down through the newsletters. Then at around lunch time, a resident reported a suspicious white Toyota Condor, driving in the region of Tugela, Jasper and Zambezi Streets. No further information. Again, no one bothered to go out and check. This could possibly have be the thief who took your TV.
Sat 20 Feb: A suspicious person was reported walking down Maroela St. He had been sitting in the spruit for two days in a row. As he was walked towards Karin Street, he was seen talking on his cell phone. The suspicious person then moved down Elizabeth Street, where a resident asked whether he could help him. The suspicious person could not really give a reason for his presence in our area.
Sun 21 Feb: No crime incidents reported.
Last Saturday a few Doringkloof residents attended a briefing presented by Warrant Officer Bronn (Lyttelton SAPS) on aspects of the Criminal Procedure Act. The purpose of the briefing was to inform us as members of neighbourhood watches of our responsibilities in fighting crime. While it is impossible to repeat the briefing here, here are a few salient points made during the briefing.
1. WO Bronn started by explaining the meaning of the words “a reasonable man”. As crime does not always occur exactly the same each time, a certain amount of discretion is involved. However, when the court decides whether we acted within the bounds of the law or not, the judge will apply “the reasonable man” principle, meaning “what would a reasonable man have done or how would he have reacted?” One of the lessons derived from this is that we will not make that decision – a judge will!! So we have to be sure of the legal implications as to how we act.
2. We, as private citizens are allowed to arrest a person, if we have reasonable grounds to believe that a suspect has committed a criminal act or is about to commit a crime. Here we should actually have witnessed the act, and not just have been told about it, or those who witnessed the criminal act ask for our assistance in affecting an arrest. We, as private citizens can also be asked by a police officers to assist with the arrest of a person suspected of having committed a crime.
3. We may only used force in affecting the arrest if the suspect tries to resist the arrest. However the force must be the minimum force required to stop the suspect getting away. (Again, what would the reasonable man do). Once the suspect has submitted to the arrest no further violence may be directed against the suspect. Furthermore, only in the case of schedule 1 crimes may you use deadly force to stop the suspect from getting away from you. Suppose the suspect was an intruder, or a burglar (a non-schedule 1 crime) and he gets away from you, you may not stop him by using a firearm.
4. We as private citizens may use deadly force if a suspect is a danger to ourselves or those around us. (At the same time we would advise our residents to be aware of the content of the Act governing the use of fire arms.)
In conclusion, the above is only a short summary made by someone who was there. We are sure that a lot more was said that was more than useful, in fact important enough to know. We therefore strongly recommend that you keep your ears open to when the next such briefing will take place and attend it. The danger of taking the law into your own hands may mean that you are arrested by the police along with the suspect you have just arrested. As WO Bronn noted, as a police officers he is obliged to arrest you if you break the law and this is not something he would like to do.